It’s an unfortunate truth that heartbreak in any form, whether a mild rejection or a full-blown life-changing event, can put you in an emotional tailspin, a palm-in-face moment. What did I do wrong? Can we fix it? Why are you such an idiot? All are valid questions that dance through your mind and tug at your heartstrings.
It’s hard not to let these experiences negatively define our character. This is especially difficult at a period in our lives when we somewhat insecurely have been birthed into the "real" world, where our problems orbit constantly and leave us grasping for more answers, happiness and truth.
What makes me qualified to write about this sensitive topic? I have survived it. About six months ago, I experienced that life-changing kind of breakup, after the collapse of an eight-year relationship. Since then, I have experienced those mini-heartbreaks that cause you to toughen up. Let these moments be catalysts for self-examination so that it can truly be better next time. Here are the truths about mending your heart after a breakup:
It shouldn't be THAT hard.
It just shouldn't. Loving someone and being in love with someone are actually two very different emotions. The sooner you can distinguish them, the better off you will be.
Neither feeling should cause daily anguish. Heck yeah, you have to work at it, and that makes it worth it. But when you find yourself wondering the last time you were happy, it's time to let go. Use this as a learning experience. Will any of these hardships be deal breakers for you in the future?
You can't fix it. It's over.
It’s most likely been over. Love keeps people hanging onto something bad, even though they know it's negative. The relationship is over and no amount of "talking" about the situation will resurrect the happy times, including a year of couple’s therapy -- ouch, that could have been a nice vacation. When you can become emotionally distanced from the situation, you should reflect on what you think went wrong.
Ask your friends how they really felt about the relationship. When you are truly ready, they will be honest and often, their reflections will shed light on some inconsistencies you didn’t see. Love is blind.
It's not you. It’s me.
Wrong. It's actually both of you. It is never one person's "fault" that a relationship struggles or ends. That’s not how a symbiotic relationship works. You did play a role in what happened. What would you do differently in a new relationship? What did these challenges show you about yourself or your insecurities?
It's time to rebuild yourself.
If your relationship made you feel bad about you, it's time to rebuild your confidence. A romantic relationship should never make you feel a number of ways, namely make you feel ugly, not good enough, embarrassed or guilty about your successes. A loving relationship should not leave you feeling stagnant in your life, either..
There is a difference between what you want and what you need.
How many times have you heard it before? My mind was blown when I actually made this distinction. For whatever reason, I am attracted to people who need me; they are usually introverted (as opposed to my extrovert), emotionally reserved and timid to take risks. This attraction is real, and I have found myself drawn to the same type of guy over and over again.
Is this a good balance for me? Yes. But for whatever reasons, healthy or not, these things I want are not the things I need. These things I want also end up causing issues down the line.
"Why don’t you want to hang out with my friends?" Well, because you're introverted and I know that, but I still expect you to change. "How come it’s so hard to tell how you feel?" Let me try to break down all of your walls.
NO. Reflect on what you want and then decide what you truly need. Yes, you need someone who will challenge you to grow as a person, but not someone who will exhaust your natural tendencies. Now that I recognize my "patterns," I have to reevaluate the types of guys I date and the way I go about dating them.
To get over someone, get under someone else.
Told and true, the easiest way to cure heartbreak is to throw yourself into the attention of someone else. It's new and it feels good. Someone will love you again. Ah, yes, validation that your ex is a fool.
However, every situation is different, and I truly believe you have to reconcile your heartbreak and let yourself grieve the end of one relationship before initiating a new one. Take it easy and keep it casual.
The "mend" is completely necessary.
Being single requires a certain amount of vulnerability. You have to stand alone and be okay with it before you are truly ready to move on. Take time to distance yourself from the heartbreak and feelings. The further you get, the clearer it will be. Once you accept it for what it is, a piece of your life's past, you can close the book and move on.
Let yourself do things you didn’t feel like you could while in your relationship, take up a new hobby, apply for that job, dye your hair, get that tattoo you've been wanting, go on a trip. Plan "me" time and be okay with it.
This is also a great time to reconnect with your friends on a deeper level. Your need for emotional intimacy does not always have to be addressed by a member of the opposite sex. Lean on your friends and let them support you. Find a home in your own skin.
Appreciate your ex for the lessons he or she taught you and make peace with the fact that he or she is no longer in your life.
And every time you feel a little sad, send light and love his or her way. At one point, that person was the center of your life; it’s completely acceptable and understandable to feel sad sometimes.
When you are ready to get back out there on the dating scene, you will know. In fact, you will probably notice when you're already out there. The key is not to NEED a significant other in your life, but to desire one. Let your life be full of all things you and love will come walking into your life.
Photo via We Heart It